sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

May 22, 2011

How Much Sense Does MSNBC Make?

Filed under: Israel, journalism, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:33 pm

None, but many thanks to Richard Engel for sounding out an alarm about the “Arab Spring”:

Engel: In a single statement, President Obama went to the core of Arab-Israeli conflicts, Israel’s 1967 border.

Eloquent, I know.  Except that there is no internationally recognized 1967 border, only 1949 armistice line.  Also, if the “1967 border” is the core of the conflict, how come wars were fought before then?  Well, that none-core issue war had something to do with throwing Jews into the sea, which is something the 1967 war was all about as well.

Engel: The issue remains emotional in Israel where many see returning to 1967 borders as putting Israel’s very existence at risk.

An Israeli Man: The 67 borders are something that is fragile.

Silly Jews!  They get so emotional, and then they wave their hands in the air.

Engel: On the other side of the divide, Palestinians feel without enough land they’ll never be secure either.

A Palestinian Man: We will not be enthusiastic about anything until we see a real change in the future.

Hello listening comprehension!  This man on the street didn’t tell Richard Engel he doesn’t feel secure, at least not in the segment he cropped.  The man said, vaguely, that he wants more.

Engel: In 1967 Israel expanded dramatically.  In six days they captured Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank and West Jerusalem from Jordan.  Israel returned the Sinai in exchange for the peace with Egypt.  Arabs have long argued that the rest needs to follow in return for more peace.  But Israel had argued that it needs Golan for water and West Bank for settlements and security and it will not compromise Jerusalem.

Israel needs Golan for security.  On a clear day, the whole country can be seen from the Golan Heights.  Besides, whether or not Israel needs territories should be irrelevant because Israel captured them in a defensive war.  Jerusalem, which from 1949 to 1967 was a backwater Jordanian town, happened to be the Israeli capital.

Engel: So for years there’s been deadlock until this happened.  The Arab street has been mobilized unleashing pent-up anti-Israeli sentiments.  Last weekend in Cairo protesters tried to storm the Israeli embassy.

What “deadlock”?  There’s been Madrid accords, Oslo accords, multiple negotiations and concessions on the part of Israel met with Palestinian promises and terror campaigns.

What “pent-up anti-Israeli sentiment”?  The Arab street’s been burning Israeli flags and storming embassies (on rare occasion there was one in the country) since Israel was founded.  In fact,  the Arab dictatorships have been encouraging virulent anti-Semitism to deflect from their own failings.

Engel: After revolution in Egypt and the ongoing protests across the Middle East, people in the Arab world feel empowered and say that they are no longer willing to accept dictatorship and most say they are no longer willing to accept a peace process they say favors Israel.  Egyptians expect that Arab demands on Israel will only grow as the Arab Spring revolutions mature.

An Egyptian Man: The Arab people, they have the self-confidence.  They’re not afraid of Israel.

Sounds like an argument for retaining as much land as possible, if not all of it.

Engel: For the United States, it’s a politically risky balance to protect an ally but also to embrace the changing Middle East.

Our President needs to do less embracing and more leading.  Completely absent from this talk of free and confident Arab people ready once again to rise against their oppressor Israel is the issue of Iran, who is filling the vacuum of power left by Arab despots, with Iranian proxies.

Factually incorrect, hastily put together and shallow: Who needs this “journalism”?

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